Those were my exact words. That's how I announced the news the very first time, on the phone with my parents from the hospital. That’s how I informed various friends. In the beginning, the word “lost” was much easier to say than "died" or "dead." But in a more literal sense we really did lose A. I did everything in my control to “keep” him; nourished myself with healthy food, drank quarts of water, rested, went to every single prenatal appointment, avoided extreme heat, unpasteurized cheeses and loads of other risks.
For nearly 10 months my body, mind, hormones and emotions had all been anticipating the arrival of our baby. We made adjustments to our life, stocked the house, made arrangements. Every aspect of my life was devoted to preparing to bring A home. So when we didn't bring him home I felt lost.
Most obviously, my body expected a baby and my breasts filled to bursting-levels with milk; hormones coursed through me compelling me to nurture. I've read about bereaved parents sleeping with their baby's stuffed animal or blanket. Personally, I felt compelled to rock A’s fleece snowsuit (and did so often). Surely emotions play a role, but I'm convinced on a more atavisitc level our bodies and brains push us toward cuddling and coddling. In fact, it’s been documented that chimpanzees, baboons and other primates will carry their dead infants for days, up to months. I can relate to that bond. I can understand because every ounce of my being wanted to stay with my son. Walking away from A was counter to eons of evolution it went against nature herself. Weeks after A had died, the thought occurred to me, “We could have snuck him out in our duffle bag! Then at least we’d have had a little more time together.” Intellectually I knew his deteriorating body would upset me, but that thought of taking him home did not generate from the intellectual part of my brain. It was more biological, instinctual.
More bizarrely, there have been a few instances where I genuinely felt the urge to go look for A. I felt that I needed to find him. It wasn't logical. It wasn't even conscious. But the message was clear; he should be here with me. In the middle of breakdowns I would sometimes sob, "Where is he?"
After so much anticipation and preparation it's natural that I'd feel lost without my baby. And it continues, months later just not as intensely.
Although he is lost, I feel lost without him.
Note: I considered linking to an image or video of a mother chimp carrying her baby’s corpse. But it was too disturbing. If you’re interested in learning more about how primates mourn, a simple Google search ought to do it.
I wrote the above entry earlier in the week to post today. Then this morning, I started my day, not even out of bed yet, bawling. I have not stopped crying all day. Is it the Easter holiday? Is it the many family gatherings? Is it the 6-month anniversary approaching?
It does not matter which combination of triggers keeps my tear ducts working overtime. The fact is I am especially sad and I miss my son extra today. I have not had a day like this since early on. I don’t have much more to say about it, but wanted to share openly how melancholy I am right now.